Young Frodo

by Overlithe

Chapter 25

The hour was late when young Frodo awoke. He was not one to sleep in and Primula had finally wakened him for elevensies.  Bilbo was dozing in the chair by the fire when Frodo entered the room he look a bit dazed until he remembered that Bilbo was visiting.  Frodo climbed to his place at the table and looked at the food before him his stomach rumbled in response. 

He ate and ate until he could hold no more and Primula was satisfied.  She adored the lad but he rarely ate so much and she was glad.  His eyes were alight with excitement and she knew the cause for it and she was happy for him.  Esme and Saradoc would return today and Frodo's fears would be driven from him finally.  Primula knew he did not quite believe that the couple was returning for he did not understand where they had been.  But the crisis had passed and he know knew they would return he had helped make ready for them himself.  

"When Mum?  When will they be here?"  He asked repeatedly and no matter how many ways she said it the answer was not enough.  Bilbo awoke in time to finish up elevensies with Frodo and now sat speaking with the lad.

"How about a walk Frodo?  Time will pass more quickly."  And with that he arose and took Frodo's hand and escorted him out of the kitchen.  Frodo was happy it was plain to see and Bilbo smiled at his excitement.  It bothered him a bit that the lad really had no one his own age to play with.  Only Reginard Took came to play occasionally and Lotho Sackville-Baggins was no longer welcome in Brandyhall.  The lad had done well with out any age mates but still his closest friend were adults it didn't seem right somehow.

"Perhaps in Hobbiton he could have some friends". Bilbo pondered still it was a days journey and he was still young he could not come to stay with his old Uncle.  Frodo would make due he would make friends wherever he went.  He was impossible not to like.  The two wandered aimlessly but not far as was usual Frodo did not want to miss their return.

He heard it first the whisper of a tune on the wind.  Frodo stopped short and tilted his head listening. Bilbo watched as his face changed from question to joy to pure delight.  His full lips pulled into a mischievous smirk.  The expression was so delightful Bilbo laughed aloud.  The next instant Frodo was gone off at a run sprinting toward the sound of his friend and Cousin Saradoc.  He could not yet see him but he knew that around the corner he would see him and Esme too.

The couple walked hand in hand speaking together and Saradoc would intermittently start whistling.  He knew who would be the first to greet them he didn't have to even think about it.  It would be young Frodo he always had a sense of timing that was uncanny.  "And the little imp would want to be spying for us." he thought affectionately. He and Esmeralda Brandybuck his bride had missed Frodo terribly he was a daily part of Saradoc's life and Esme hoped hers too.  They were bound by tradition however and tradition dictated they be secluded for at least 10 days after the wedding.  Still they had not said a proper farewell to the lad and they felt badly for it. 

His heart leapt and Esme squealed in delight as they saw him.  It was, as Saradoc had known it would be Frodo alone coming to greet them. Even with the distance between them he could see the bright smile on the lads face.  He held no anger in his pure heart just joy at their return.  The fact sobered him, such a pure soul he had never thought of him as such but even his mischievous antics were pure hearted.  The child did not have a mean bone in his body.

He was running now Chestnut curls blowing and bouncing in the wind.  Eyes bright and shining and a smile to rival the sun he approached them.  Saradoc and Esmeralda stopped and just watched him.  How could they do otherwise he was so…Words escaped them and they could only stare at the enigma that ran toward them.  Frodo Baggins left no question as to how he felt about the two.  He leapt full speed into the air and into Saradoc's arms. The silence that followed was enough to let all know that the feelings were just too raw to express. 

Esmeralda was the first to break the silence.  She stood next to the two locked in an embrace.  She reached out and touched Frodo's back rubbing comfortingly.  "There now lad can I get some of that?"  Frodo pulled back from Saradoc wiping his face on his sleeve and smiling through tears he leaned over into Esme's arms and held tight.  "You won't leave me again will you Esme?" he asked with a raspy tear choked voice. 

Esmeralda looked up at her new husband tears starting in her own eyes.  They had indeed hurt him he nodded looking a bit tearful himself.  "No Frodo, we'll not leave you again.  She hugged his slight frame tightly to her and kissed his soft curls inhaling the sweet smell of childhood.  Some day perhaps she would have her own little boy but if not she would be content to love this one child her whole life.

Frodo suddenly grew restless in her arms and squirmed free.  He jumped down between the two and grasped their hands. Come on I'll show you your rooms I helped unpack for you.  His tone took on a measure of pride, as did his posture as he led them toward Brandyhall and their new life together.


The trio rounded a bend in the road to find Bilbo sitting on a rock waiting for them and smiling, humming a tune.  He grinned all the more at the sight of little Frodo leading his cousin by the hand.  Dragging him would perhaps be more accurate a description he thought to himself.  Frodo could be demanding in his enthusiasm, no one minded his excitement was usually contagious. Bilbo stood with out a word and joined them as they headed back to the Hall.  Frodo was speaking at an amazing speed Bilbo had never seen the lad so animated.  He was giving a detailed day-by-day accounting of events while the two were away.  He was already up to day 6 and he showed no sign of stopping.  Saradoc and Esmeralda just smiled at him and let him go on.  There was no point in telling him that they had only been 5 minutes up the road and knew much of what went on in spite of their isolation.

They arrived at the door to the common room at Brandyhall and all that were gathered looked up and waved called a welcome to the couple.  Some even applauded to which Esme blushed and held tightly to Saradoc's hand.  Frodo continued to walk and stopped when they did not follow immediately.  He stood patiently waiting for them quietly staring taking in the scene.

They stood closely together as they never did before.  And Saradoc held Esme protectively they looked like his parents.  Married…is that what it means? He wondered to himself about it.  It was a word used when hobbits were together but more than that.  His young mind had trouble with the concept.  These were his same dear friends that he knew weeks ago and yet now they were not.  They were…he lost the thought as his Mum came up behind him kneeling.  "What is it Frodo" she asked and he turned to her bright eyes full of questions and excitement.  "I don't know," he answered.  He shrugged and smiled and allowed his Mum to pick him up.  "Have they seen their rooms yet luv?" she asked him.  Frodo shook his head and she walked over to the couple and kissed her cousins gently.  "Come now you two you must settle in and Frodo here wishes to show you to your home."  She put him down and he was off the three adults following close behind.  Through the wide corridors of Brandyhall he led them.  He opened the doors and stood back.

At last his friends were home together. 

Chapter 26

The couple was taken by surprise by their new home and by their little cousin's joy at showing them the things he had helped arrange.  Frodo's enthusiasm was contagious and Esmeralda Found she was overwhelmed.  She sat quietly on the edge of her chair and smiled and wept then laughed and cried again. It truly was a homecoming and Frodo made it so much more special. 

Frodo stood before her now gazing up into her face with his penetrating blue eyes.  She looked back and smiled at him.  He wore a worried expression and confusion was apparent in his face.  She was confusing him she knew it but her emotions were so labile she could scarce make sense of them let alone explain them to her young cousin.  He stood with his hands on here knees leaning in close to her.  She could smell his warm slightly sweaty skin as he closed in on her to see what was wrong.  "Yes Frodo, what is it dear?"

"What's wrong Esme, don't you like your house?"

"Oh love it's lovely but you know how grown ups are, silly and weepy and all, I'm just so happy I don't know what to do."

Frodo climbed up into her lap and leaned into her shoulder his hair tickled her nose and she chuckled.  "Just hold me Esme, I missed you."  She wrapped her arms around him and held tight weeping again.  Was there any other hobbit child that was so sweet and special as the one in her arms now?  She and Saradoc had discussed Frodo many times and year-by-year they agreed he became nearer and dearer to their hearts.  Neither could quite grasp exactly what it was about him but Frodo was part of them and no matter what he always would be.  If they had 10 little ones of their own Frodo would be no less important to them.  He was just that way his spirit was such that is shown through sometimes but whether or no they would always love Frodo Baggins.

Saradoc stood watching the scene taking it all in.  He loved watching her with Frodo it always made him feel like having children of their own would be a wonderful prospect.  But the feelings of love he felt for his young cousin was sometimes countered by a feeling of fear for him.  Now was one of those times, He looked hard at Frodo he could never get a handle on the anxiety he felt.  A fear of loss and of hurt surrounded him yet there was also a great strength protecting the lad.  The thoughts came unbidden to him and he did not speak of it.  He never had told anyone not even Esme of his fear and anxiety over Frodo.  He wondered if this was what is was like to have a child of ones own. The worries that all parents had must be very similar to the feelings he now had.  But somehow he knew that was not quite the case, Frodo what is it about Frodo…He wished to protect him and shelter him from the hurt and pain that he would endure.

Saradoc shook his head…It was there again just beyond his reach he could not grasp it. What pain, suffering this was the Shire after all nothing of consequence had happened in the Shire for an age at least since old Bilbo went away and came home again.  He shuddered and he knew that traveling had some part in his fears and yet it was not all.

Esme brought him out of his thoughts as she rose holding a now sleeping Frodo hanging relaxed in her arms. She kissed his brow and laid him on the small sofa and covered him with a blanket.  She walked to her husband and wrapped her arms around him.  "There is no other like him in all the Shire is there my love?"

"No other Esme, no other" he said and they stood watching him as he slept as fair as an elven child and as peaceful as a spring morning indeed Frodo was one of a kind.